After weeks of anticipation Borders bookstore at the Sandusky Mall opened Thursday.
"It's nice that people are excited," said Marla Westerhold, a sort and remodel manager for the Borders chain.
Westerhold travels throughout the country to help open new Borders bookstores. She said she has never seen the type of excitement she experienced at this location.
Customers eager for a glimpse inside the 22,000-square-foot store peeled back the paper that covered Borders' windows by the mall entrance weeks ago.
"We've had that a lot more than usual here," she said.
Westerhold will stay until after the weekend to help out. She anticipates the coming days will be pretty hectic.
Even before the 9 a.m. opening time Thursday, people were waiting outside.
Well, two people were waiting.
However, they had to wait until after the inaugural ribbon-cutting to enter the store.
About 10 members of the Erie County Chamber of Commerce were present to commemorate the store's opening. Most stayed at the bookstore afterwards for hot drinks at Seattle's Best Coffee Cafe.
"This is tremendous," said Nancy Beach, a chamber member who is also executive director of the Providence Fund. "It's a great asset for the community ... and the Sandusky Mall."
Although the first hour was a little slow with people trickling in to browse, a small crowd soon formed outside the mall entrance.
By 10 a.m., about a dozen people were anxiously waiting outside the mall entrance for the gate to lift.
It took a few turns of a key before an employee was able to lift open the gate.
The store quickly came alive with people browsing shelves, listening to music and chatting to one another. They had nearly 100,000 book titles and thousands of compact disc and DVD titles to choose from.
Many customers appeared right at home, reading books on the soft, brown chairs scattered around the store.
Andrew Fearn of Norwalk was one of the store's first customers.
"I'm a librarian, so I love books," he said.
Fearn bought several books about New York, which he visited last month.
"I just wanted to see the store, too," he said.
David Movrin of Sandusky was another eager customer who showed up shortly after the 9 a.m. opening.
"I was interested to see what they had to offer," he said. "(There was) a lot of anticipation. They delivered. What can I say? I'm satisfied."
The store also unveiled its digital center -- the first new Borders store in the nation to open with one. Only five other stores in America have been remodeled to include digital centers. Several people were already transfixed to the computer screens.
Jeannie Johnson stopped by to see the store even though she was pressed for time.
"This is a wonderful addition to Sandusky," said Johnson as she walked around the digital center.
"I'm a retired teacher -- books are fabulous."
The store will host a weekend of activities for its grand opening celebration beginning Nov. 30. Author signings, and music will round out the weekend of events. The store has also partnered with a several organizations, the Sandusky Public Library and a few school districts for joint events and programs to promote reading.